September is National Childhood Obesity Month. In our first installment of this series, we discussed how we can help our kids psychologically, and in this post we will discuss something that all kids love: candy!
We all enjoyed eating our favorite cakes, cookies and ice cream in our youth. (I can fondly remember my mother making chocolate cake and letting me lick the bowl.) Unfortunately, many of our kids are eating more sweets than they should, as obesity rates have skyrocketed over the years.
The American Heart Association recently released new guidelines limiting the amount of sugar considered acceptable in the American diet:
Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1200 to 1400 calories should not consume more than 170 calories, or 4 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or 3 teaspoons per day.
Older kids should consume on average 1800-2000 calories per day, while consuming no more than 5-8 teaspoons of added sugar.
Unfortunately, studies indicate children of all ages are consuming more than double the amount of sugar they should, averaging well over 12 teaspoons per day.
As adults and parents, it’s up to us to reverse this trend. Here are tips on limiting our kid’s sugar intake:
Tip #1. Use healthier, natural substitutes for sugar:
Molasses. Molasses is a good source of iron.
Raw Honey. Raw honey is a natural antibacterial, helps strengthen the immune system, and is high in antioxidants.
Pure maple syrup. Manganese and zinc are two prominent nutrients in pure maple syrup.
Coconut sugar. Coconut sugar contains iron, zinc and fiber.
Tip #2. Avoid sugary breakfast cereals
Many of today’s breakfast foods are loaded with sugar. Start your child’s day with one of these healthy alternatives:
Banana with almond butter
Plain yogurt with fruit
Oatmeal served with plain with either blueberries, raisins, or honey and cinnamon
Tip #3. Serve fruit instead of candy.
Watermelon, oranges, apples, strawberries, bananas and grapes are all kid favorites. In addition to their health benefits, many fruits have a high water content that can help prevent dehydration.
Fruits like raTip #4. Opt for healthier dessert optionsisins are popular with children because they are small and bite sized like candy. Unlike candy, raisins have many health benefits, including the ability to clean your teeth. Raisins contain oleanolic acid, a chemical that stop certain kinds of plaque from forming on the teeth.
Tip #4. Opt for healthier dessert options
Cake and ice cream aren’t the only dessert options. Here are a few after-dinner treats for kids:
Palin yogurt with your own added fruit
Homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
Limiting your child’s sugar intake may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. By creating healthy habits for our children today, we ensure a healthy life for them tomorrow.
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